“Thank you, Mr. Popham!” said Mrs. Carey, her eyes twinkling as she looked at the laughing children. “It was kind of you to spend so much time in our behalf.”
“Well, I says to myself there’s nothin’ too good for ’em, an’ when it comes Thanksgivin’ I’ll give ’em one thing more to be thankful for!”
“Quit talkin’, Pop, will yer?” whispered Digby, nudging his father. “You’ve kep’ us from startin’ to eat ‘bout five minutes a’ready, an’ I’m as holler as a horn!”
It was as cheery, gay, festive, neighborly, and friendly a supper as ever took place in the dining room of the Yellow House, although Governor Weatherby may have had some handsomer banquets in his time. When it was over all made their way into the rosy, bowery, summer parlor. Soon another fire sparkled and snapped on the hearth, and there were songs and poems and choruses and Osh Popham’s fiddle, to say nothing of the supreme event of the evening, his rendition of “Fly like a youthful hart or roe, over the hills where spices grow,” to Mother Carey’s accompaniment. He always slipped up his glasses during this performance and closed his eyes, but neither grey hairs nor “specs” could dim the radiant smile that made him seem about fifteen years old and the junior of both his children.
Mrs. Harmon thought he sang too much, and told her husband privately that if he was a canary bird she should want to keep a table cover over his head most of the time, but he was immensely popular with the rest of his audience.
Last of all the entire company gathered round the old-fashioned piano for a parting hymn. The face of the mahogany shone with delight, and why not, when it was doing everything (almost everything!) within the scope of a piano, and yet the family had enjoyed weeks of good nourishing meals on what had been saved by its exertions. Also, what rational family could mourn the loss of an irregularly shaped instrument standing on three legs and played on one corner? The tall silver candle sticks gleamed in the firelight, the silver dish of polished Baldwins blushed rosier in the glow. Mother Carey played the dear old common metre tune, and the voices rang out in Whittier’s hymn. The Careys all sang like thrushes, and even Peter, holding his hymn book upside down, put in little bird notes, always on the key, whenever he caught a familiar strain.
“Once more the liberal year laughs
O’er richer stores than gems or gold;
Once more, with harvest-song and shout
Is Nature’s bloodless triumph told.”
“We shut our eyes, the flowers bloom
We murmur, but the corn-ears fill;
We choose the shadow, but the sun
That casts it shines behind us still.”
“O favors every year made new!
O gifts with rain and sunshine sent!
The bounty overruns our due,
The fulness shames our discontent.”